The Tampa Bay Buccaneers know just as well as any other team that the playoffs is the worst possible time to lose key players.
But should this fact mean the league’s stars get a pass for their actions on the field which go beyond the game of football?
When Bruce Arians smacked safety Andrew Adams on the helmet to discourage the player from pulling players off a pile following a muffed punt, he received a $50k fine.
It wasn’t the only post-whistle act that went down on Wild Card weekend however.
While social media was ablaze with the collapse of Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, there was another moment that captured everyone’s attention.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald attempting to choke a Cardinals opponent.
Aaron Donald might one day end his career as the best defensive player in history. He also shouldn't get a pass for these type of stuff.pic.twitter.com/Jxi3icA3B0— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 18, 2022
The irony of Donald doing this with ‘Stop Hate’ written on the back of his helmet has been pointed out far and wide.
But there’s another side to this conversation, one of repeat performances. As you can see in the tweet from Dov Kleiman, this isn’t the first time Donald has put his digits or paws around the throat of another player.
Watching the clip, you can see Donald trying to grab the neck of his opponent but never getting a hold of him. Perhaps this is why the NFL has - as of now - decided not to punish one of the most well-known faces in the league.
“My takeaway was, ‘Who in their right mind fights No. 99?’,” said Travis Rodgers of the Locked On Rams Podcast when I asked him about the incident and whether or not Donald should receive punishment from the NFL. “It wasn’t a great look obviously, but...trying to do something is not the same as doing something. There’s always pushing and shoving in the NFL...elevated tempers...had he gotten his hands on him and actually choked him I think it’s a different conversation, but I think the NFL got that one right.”
Of course, if the league was going to take action, it likely would have been taken already, just as coach Arians received his fine earlier this week - which he intends to appeal.
Given the fact Donald didn’t actually choke the other player, but did try to and has a history of this behavior, this writer believes a fine would have been warranted but a suspension for the weekend’s game would have been a step too far.
As it stands, Donald and the Rams will travel to Tampa this weekend to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers, who are looking for some payback having lost the only matchup between the two teams, early in the regular season.
Should Aaron Donald Have Been Punished for His Actions Monday Night?
This poll is closed
Yes, He Should Be Suspended
Yes, He Should Be Fined